5 ways I save while planning

1.) Look for the best deals. While people browse facebook and instagram when they are bored, I browse kayak.com/explore. I always have a travel itch. I think this is a serious thing that is probably contagious. I am forever daydreaming of my next adventure. Which is good. Because that means I am in the loop for flight trends. I watch the prices to get an idea of when and where to go. Often, the same flights would be a few hundred dollars discounted if it is bought at the right time. Some people sign up for the email alerts, I never do because I don’t like too many emails. But this is also another great way to keep up to date about flight discounts.

2.) Plan, but only halfway. Planning every minute detail can be overwhelming. If the trip isn’t going according to plan, it may throw you completely off causing frustration. Don’t worry! Only plan the stuff you have to in order to get the discounts.

a.) Buy the plane tickets early. Usually, the best time to buy a flight is 2 -3 weeks in advance. Also, know when to buy. Off season flights are the best.

b.) Research things to do so you can budget accordingly (admission fees for major tourist attractions are expensive as they are often collected by the government or a private company).

c.) Book a hotel for only the first night you arrive at a new city. This way, you have a guaranteed bed for when you arrive, an address for the disembark card, and you don’t have to commit past the first night in case you don’t like it or if it is too expensive. And if it is okay, you can simply extend. Also, you have the option of an airport pick up. I booked an airport pick up for the first time when I went to Cambodia last year. This was so helpful! I didn’t risk being scammed by the taxis outside the airport, I wasn’t lost, confused, or frustrated after hours of traveling. Why haven’t I ever arrange that before?? I will do that as much as possible from now on.

3.) Travel light Budget airlines charge for everything now. Some even charge for (bottled) water. Last October, I took 6 flights within a month, and I only had a 7kg backpack as a carry on. I saved a lot of money because I did not have to check in a bag. Also, bring snacks (I always bring snacks). Airport food is really expensive (airport everything is really expensive), and trying to eat healthy while traveling may take some effort.

4.) Pick the right ATM card. Some ATM cards will reimburse you for international withdrawals. And if they do, take out more money at a time so you have less frequent charges. Be sure to let your bank know the countries you will be traveling. A Malaysian ATM stole $5,000 from me. And my bank did not alert me while this was happening! I typically travel with enough cash to last me three weeks, and depend on the ATM for anything extra. You also do not want to travel with too much cash (just in case).

5.) Make a budget. This seems simple enough. But I didn’t start doing this before I went on a trip until last year. Making a budget gives you an idea of how much things will cost. For example, if you are going to Thailand for only two weeks, and you want to visit the entire country, keep in mind you will be on the road often, and that is expensive. Bus, train, taxis, boats, domestic flights, etc. I realized most of my travel spending is not on hotels or food, but transport.

Do you have other great money tips while you plan a trip?

∫♦ This photo is credit to Kem Ramirez Photography. Please practice artistic integrity and ask permission before utilizing this photo. ♦∫


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